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{Note from Jessica: Today’s post is shared by my good friend, Lauren, author of Lauren Fowler. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and yoga teacher who promotes a non-diet approach to nutrition and health. She wants everyone to connect to their bodies intuitive wisdom rather than following diets. She encourages the tools of intuitive eating and health at every size. Stop by LaurenFlower.co to read more about nutrition, intuitive eating, heart-based health, and yoga.}

Summer + fall are my favorite seasons. The warm weather, endless activities, and social events really pack my days with fun, joy, and sunshine…and yes, a little more sugar, alcohol, and ice cream than usual.

There’s no shame about this, and most of the time, being mindful of it means I don’t overdo it. However, after vacations or long weekends (think: summer weddings!), I find my body tired, achy, and with a sensitive digestive tract.

My body is used to delicious greens, grounding proteins, and whole foods, so the alcohol, sugar, and lack of sleep did a number on my immune system. Luckily, I devised a simple plan to bring my body back into balance. It’s not stressful like a juice detox would be, and it makes me feel good nearly instantly. Here’s what I do to support my immune system naturally…

1. Hydrate!

Water, herbal teas, and kombucha are my go-tos after being out of balance. After a night of dancing and wine, my cells were crying out for fluids to rehydrate. Get in plenty of water, but be mindful of taking in minerals as well. Bone broth is an extremely nourishing way to hydrate and get in plenty of gut-soothing nutrients. Try out herbal teas, such as an anti-inflammatory ginger tea, and pick up kombucha for a delicious probiotic drink. Hydration helps remove toxins from your body and supports normal lymph system function.

2. Remove the sugar.

If you’ve been on vacation, your meal schedules and food may be completely different from your usual routine. A lack of sleep, high carbohydrate meals/snacks, and stress can throw your blood sugars off balance, leading to sugar cravings. Listen to your cravings, and figure out what your body needs. Likely, it may need more nutrient-rich proteins and fats and simple, nourishing meals. Sugar depletes nutrients, such as magnesium, and is a stressor on the immune system, so getting it out of your system helps support your immune system.

3. Hit your pillow.

I cannot stress this enough. Sleep is the best way for me to get back to feeling my normal, healthy self. I gave myself an early bedtime and slept very well. Recalibrating my sleep schedule helped me feel refreshed, and my sugar cravings and energy lows nearly disappeared. It’s amazing what a few good nights of sleep can do for you. Sleep deprivation throws hormones, especially hunger and stress hormones, way off balance and leads to an inflammatory state in your body.

4. Back to basics with simple meals.

On vacation, you likely ate out more often and indulged in delicious foods you may not normally eat – bread, ice cream, sweets, etc. If you’re now bloated, with a sensitive stomach, or abnormal digestion now, give your gut a reset. Go back to basic, whole foods that you know fill you with energy and nutrients. I often find I crave nourishing, simple meals like basic salads or plain meats or fish after indulging. Listen to what your body is craving, and eat real food.

5. Add in probiotics.

Gut-healthy probiotics will promote healthy digestion, and given that 80% of your immune system is in your gut, it’s THAT important. Add some sauerkraut or kimchi with your meals, or milk or water kefir. If you’re a newbie to fermentation, check out these wonderful recipes!

6. Gentle movement.

It can be tempting to want to hit up intense spinning or boot camp classes everyday after vacations or an indulgent weekend, but instead make movement fun and gentle. Go for a long walk outside, find a gentle or moderate yoga class (yin is great), or just do a lighter version of your regular workout. Movement will stimulate blood flow throughout your body and energize you. Over-the-top workouts will only add more cortisol and stress to depress the immune system.

7. Eat naturally detoxifying foods.

Naturally detoxifying foods, such as cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, etc.) or sulfur veggies like onions and garlic will support liver detoxification. There’s no need to start a juice detox now, and that’s likely to be MORE stressful on your body and immune system at this time. Instead, just load up your plate with whole, naturally detoxifying foods to support your liver and replenish your body with nutrients.

See, I told you it would be simple changes you can add in! I guarantee a week of back to the basics real food, hydration, sleep, and gentle movement will have you feeling energized and well in no time.

I’d love to know your top tips to getting back to your healthy self. Share below:

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